Texture of cardboard paper, closeup

Early Weed Prevention

The best way to avoid a heavy invasion of weeds in your garden is by trying to prevent them early on. Mulching is one way to reduce the amount of weeds in your garden before you start planting. Mulching will also remove grass or other ground covers in your garden area. A non labor intensive form of mulching is layering cardboard in your garden area. Any cardboard that is not heavily printed, has no tape, no shiny finish, is unwaxed and plain brown is considered clean and okay to use for your growing area. Cardboard has many benefits to use in the garden as a mulching barrier as it breaks down to become compost, attracts earthworms, and helps prepare your growing space by eliminating weeds and over cover growth.

To use cardboard as a weed barrier, begin as soon as the snow is gone from your growing area and layer at least 2-3 pieces of cardboard over the growing area. Then add a few inches of compostable material such as leaves or straw to your cardboard if readily available. Then water the cardboard to help start the breakdown process and water also helps ensure the cardboard will not blow away. Weigh down the cardboard by adding rocks around the border. Wait about 4-6 weeks if possible before removing. You can actually grow on top of the cardboard if you have soil or other grow materials to add on top. If not, this will create a spot in your garden that will have reduced weed growth and a healthy start on a growing environment to plant directly in.